INDIANS VIEWING THE LANDSCAPE (INSTALLATION 2010)
Medium: Painting 30”X 45”, Victorian baby chairs.
A 19th-century painting by Thomas Cole is quoted here in acrylic, and juxtaposed with a ‘landscape’ or context provided by two Victorian looking baby chairs from Lahore, Pakistan. Victorian chairs (not baby ones!) are commonly used and preferred in upper middle-class homes and for me provide a metaphor for our political history. The Indians in the painting view the vast landscape in front of them while we inturn view the Indians viewing the landscape, sitting on these chairs. Hudson River School paintings reflect three themes of America in the 19th century: discovery, exploration, and settlement and so landscape in painting here is a symbol of a certain worldview in the post-industrial world. Here our theatrical landscape (Victorian baby chairs) becomes a part of the landscape the Indians are looking at. The painting is framed by faux gilded Chinese frame, a symbol of Victorian legacy we have inherited from our colonial past.